Nearly 1.5% of road accidents are caused due to bad roads. Every minute a traffic-related death occurs in India. Approximately 377 people die every day, costing the country an annual loss at approximately 3% of GDP.
Potholes on roads are a cause for fatal motorcycle accidents
Who Is To Blame For The Grim Statistics?
India accounts for 15% of all road accidents in the world. Considering the dismal number of deaths caused by road accidents every year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has cited the need for national governments to take proactive measures. According to their reports, if appropriate action is not taken, annual road traffic deaths are predicted to reach around 2 million by 2020.
Read on to know how road conditions contribute to the safety of the motorists as much as individual alertness does.
Roads and Maintenance
Globally, India is at the 90th rank in road quality and safety. The number of road accidents has been increasing steadily at the rate of 10-15% during the past decade. There seems to be a serious gap in road safety standards and systems.
The situation worsens during monsoons when roads deteriorate and the number of accidents increases sharply. The pothole-riddled roads become asphalt graveyards especially for motorists during the monsoon, and maximum accidents occur while motorists dodge potholes.
According to experts, many road accidents go unregistered and the actual figures of casualties could be much over 10, 000 per year.
Roads are a country's lifeline. Every day millions of people commute along a broad network of over 33 lakh km stretch of Indian roadways.
WHO studies highlight how only 15% of all countries in the world have comprehensive laws in relation to five key risks - speeding, drinking and driving, non-use of helmets and seat belts and child restraints.
Haste Is Waste
To err is human but to ignore is immaturity. Unfortunately, the large numbers of accidents caused on Indian roads are owing to negligent driving practices.
Reckless driving, not following traffic signals, driving under the influence of alcohol, talking on the phone while driving and not stopping for pedestrians to cross the road are commonplace, and result in fatality.
Even now, a large number of motorists neglect personal safety measures while driving/riding - wearing the seatbelt, helmet, turning on headlamps of the vehicle when travelling at night or in poor visibility conditions.
It is imperative for each of us to understand that safety is each one's responsibility. Caution and good presence of mind during long road trips, or when taking a turn around a corner, or even while crossing the road, can be the difference between life and death.
Report Offenders, Initiate Timely Action
As per the law, traffic offenders must be immediately reported to the police and strict action must be taken against them. This will not only instil alertness among other motorists but dissuade the offender from indulging in rash and negligent practices.
The Need Of The Hour
- Responsible mechanism to monitor road conditions, regularly and enforce safety standards
- Sensitising police, traffic officials, government authorities regarding the menacing conditions posed by potholes and poor roads
- Placing accountability of accidents on civic authorities, engineers and bureaucrats responsible for road construction and maintenance
- Government responsiveness and strict code of conduct for responsible authorities
Accidents may lead to severe physical damage that might even leave individuals incapacitated for life. Family and loved ones suffer grief and loss in the aftermath of accidents and are subject to considerable economic loss. While preventing accidents may not be within our control, one can cushion the impact of the unavoidable financial loss they cause. Opting for a comprehensive health or accident insurance policy is one such way of saving your assets.